Interview: Stunt Coordinator and Fight Choreographer Sean Wyn

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You may not know Sean Wyn’s name right now, but I have no doubt you’ll be dropping his name before too long. In addition to helping out with Tara Cardinal’s “The Legend of the Red Reaper,” Wyn is associated with “Spreading Darkness” and “Scarlet Samurai: Incarnation.” The guy has talent to spare, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone else discovers what his peers have known for quite some time: Sean Wyn is awesome.

Although he’s staying very busy making a name for himself in the indie film scene, he took some time out of his schedule to answer a handful of questions I tossed his way. So sit back, relax, and get to know fight choreographer and stunt coordinator Sean Wyn.

For starters, tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved with film?

My father had worked at Paramount Pictures Studios and would take me to the lot and gave me tours to the studios during his break. I also have an Uncle who was Vice President of Warner Bro. So as a kid, I was able to experience behind the scenes of movie magic and loved it ever since!

I have always been a very resourceful kind of guy, growing up in a broken family and not having everything. So I kind of taught myself to never give up on learning new things or doing new things, so from there I was able to build my own computers, fix almost any electronics and be able to master computer software programs and sewing to maintain my wants. I also grew up left handed, watching great movies and loving to create art. So from there I continued to study art and film making on the side. I just love that feeling of telling a story through a screen to change your perspective in life. That is why I was able to do a lot for both “Scarlet Samurai,” “Red Reaper,” and other projects. I truly hope all my efforts and hard work will show when the films release.

I’ve heard that you’re quite the fighter. What got you interested in martial arts? What age did you begin training?

I was forced intensely into martial arts when I was five-years-old and got beaten up and injured pretty hard to get where I am at today. My father’s side of the family are all strict professional martial arts masters, so it only makes sense that they wanted to train me not only for the sake of getting a physical work out, but to evolve myself mentally, to understand its main purpose, it’s history and philosophy. To know REAL martial arts where the technicalities, techniques and such don’t matter anymore, it is all about self-improvement and progressing beyond normal human capabilities. But honestly the biggest credit that got me into actually loving martial arts was the fault of Jackie Chan, the man with a high threshold for pain and aims beyond perfection! He is willing to die to bring entertainment to everyone in the world! He produces, directs, edits, scores, choreograph, etc! Basically does everything, gets hurt, next day comes back and works even harder! My injuries will never catch up to him, but it is a big list so far.

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How long have you worked in the industry? What was your first project?

I haven’t actually counted the years, but out of honesty I have always been a behind the scenes type of guy, more of a doer then talker. I am too humble to ask for any credit and do not really crave the spot light. But officially now after much praise and word of mouth from great friends like Tara Cardinal, my real first project is “The Legend of the Red Reaper.”

I heard that you trained Tara Cardinal on the set of ‘Zombie Massacre.’ What was it like working on the film?

I’ve been training Tara Cardinal for several years now, both in martial arts and body sculpting. She came to me for specific training for the role. It was a challenge, because Tara was seriously injured from a previous movie where they used actors instead of stunt guys, and didn’t bother to hire a stunt coordinator, and so our training incorporated a combination of physical therapy and mixed martial arts. For more than 6 months I trained Tara in the art of Samurai, Ninjutsu and Aikido in order to maintain the authenticity of the Martial arts and character background. I also provided some Choreography for the film just to spice things up. I then met with one of the directors (Marco Ristori) at AFM at Uwe Boll’s booth and he showed me all the martial arts action scenes. And let me say — I approve! I was very happy with the final outcome, the movie turned out very well done!

You wear a number of hats on ‘Scarlet Samurai: Incarnation.’ How did you become involved with the project?

I did wear a big number of hats didn’t I? Sometimes when you are just focused on finishing a dream project and fixing everyone’s problems yourself, you sometimes forget you are only meant to do one or two jobs. But yes I did most of the set design, I made most of the wardrobe, I did the stunt coordination, martial arts choreography, I did the stunts, reworked the story, I tagged team directed with Tara on certain scenes, I’m editing the film, doing the special effects, I’m leveling the sounds, I’m working with my composer to come up with some epic scores for the movie, and so much more I wish to not list because it is making me feel overwhelmed since I’m at the finishing phase of the feature, not to mention I am also helping out with “Red Reaper.” I only wanted to be a martial arts stunt coordinator and choreographer, what the hell happened? Haha!

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What’s the film about?

The film has a very unique and original story: Three failing archeology students accompanied by their professor’s T.A. and a photographer. They go on a mandatory exploration in order to not get expelled from school due to low grade point average. Ikari (played by Tara Cardinal) leads the expedition, but later finds out the building that they are exploring, the Buffalo Central Terminal, is cursed by Asian monsters ruled by a summoned Jiang Shi (Played by yours truly). Only two, united as one hero, can slay these demons with a sword (blessed by a monk), in “Scarlet Samurai: Incarnation!”

At what point did you become involved with the movie?

I became involved when Tara was showing me other movie projects she had done before becoming a super star that she is today. Saw the original title “Terminal Descent” and got the whole story behind it. Apparently it was a well shot film but went through post-production hell and never really got to finish. The original cut was horrible so I decided to take a go at it since I saw great potential in it. Turned in the first rough cut, did two test trailers and boom! Reignited the cast and crew to support the finalization of this film! I was surprised by the reaction and from there I became a full time producer of this film doing whatever it takes to make it one bad ass movie!

Sean Wyn Pic 7Tell me a little bit about the character you play in the film.

I play the horrendous Jiang Shi, an old mythological Asian monster that is a combination of a zombie, vampire, and demon that loves to consume the life force of all living things and gets stronger and more intelligent the longer it lives. It loves to rape its victims and overall is one bad ass cold killer that has no limits! It is a great villain that hasn’t been tapped into the film market much so I am glad I am able to portray it for this movie.

How involved is the stunt work in this movie?

I was heavily involved with the stunts, stunt coordination and martial arts choreography in this film. I body doubled the monsters that got hit, fell, or had to climb down 30 feet from a catwalk. Over all, I’d say this is as much an action film as it is a horror film.

IMDb lists you as the stunt coordinator for “Legend of the Red Reaper.” Tell me a bit about your involvement with the movie.

“Red Reaper” is another project that went through post-production hell, which it should’t have but Tara was dealing with some inexperienced team mates who didn’t have the wherewithal to really get the vision of the amazing Tara Cardinal. I became involved when the final cut had some oddly cut action scenes. Originally Ho-Sung Pak (the movie’s co-producer) was slated to re-cut the action, but he was contracted on another project so Tara brought me in to replace him. So I came in and fixed it as an action editor (along with parts of the story) with Tara sitting beside me guiding me (and sometimes editing) to insure it follows her vision and making sure the movie is original. I was also the stunt coordinator for some of the re-shoots where Tara is up high on a tree for a meditation scene. I made sure she was safe and ensured the shots we need turned out great.

Do you have any plans to direct your own film?

If I have a great team, don’t have to deal with a lot of ego bullshit, false promises and people who have a titled job who actually knows how to do their job … then yes, I hope to direct in the future. I feel like most films these days are lacking heart and personality and wish to bring that sense back. If you look at the “Indiana Jones” trilogy, the original “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future” — until this day, they seem ageless and always fun to watch. I truly miss that and wish to immerse people into the story without the need of fancy effects and 3-D technology. I also hope to be able to bring a new level of what Jackie Chan has brought to the world and just have fun.

Sean Wyn Pic 6What other projects do you currently have lined up?

I was working on a film called “Spreading Darkness” which just wrapped production as stunt coordinator working alongside Eric Roberts, Tara Cardinal, Dominique Swain, James Duval, John Savage, and a bunch of other top actors. [It was] directed by Josh Eisenstadt and written by Aaron Pope.

And as many have noticed, like the Cohen Brothers or the Wachowskis or the Lucas-Spielberg team ups, I am pretty much in great partnership with Tara Cardinal. I do more of the physical stuff as she handles all the mental paper work stuff. Tara is one amazing person! Great huge heart, beautiful personality, creative and hardworking! No one can do what Tara does and I swear to any superior being that she is (evidently) the first woman to create cool on screen super heroes, directs, writes, produces, does her own stunts and edits! She is like the female version of Stan Lee, George Lucas and Jackie Chan all combined!

What would you most like to accomplish in the business?

Successful is one way to put it, but mostly be able to make good movies with heart and personality again like how great films should be like. If you look at all the great films made in the 70’s, 80’s and half of the 90’s, there is a possibility that you can name a lot of films that have touched your heart in those decades then in today’s generic and tech-heavy remakes of doom. It became more about money then promoting an artistic inspiring original story that can leave you craving for more. With great collaboration with the amazing Tara Cardinal, my best friend who is one amazing musical composer Joshua Parish Gomez (son of the Black Eyed Peas Taboo) and the visionary eyes of Josh Eisenstadt among others, we should be unstoppable!

Huge thanks to Sean Wyn for taking the time to chat with me about his upcoming projects. Since I’m a huge fan of both Wyn and Cardinal, there’s a strong possibility you’ll hear more about their work here at Beyond Hollywood. Stay tuned!

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